March 10, 2007
International Blogger Meetup
Since Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter still had another day of writing midterm papers before her spring break began, my husband and I took a side trip to the Small City of Many Spires to meet one of my blogging friends. English Minister Blogging Friend and I have been plotting ways to meet ever since I told her my daughter would be spending the semester in her country.
Whenever I read the blog of the Woman Who Scores the Same as Me on the Myers-Brigg Test, I have this sense that we have parallel lives but on different sides of the ocean. Our households, our kids, our husbands, and our personalities and quirks seem oddly similar. This week, we finally had a chance to meet in person.
We walked through the busy streets and wandered through colleges, we admired architecture, we climbed the tall tower of Cathedral Named After a Woman to stand in the sun and gawk at the view. But mostly, we talked, our English and American accents weaving together as we jumped from topic to topic. My patient and introverted husband had little chance to get a word in edgewise.
When we were cold from the brisk wind that had come up, Anglican Curate Blogging Friend bought us lunch in a pub that felt wonderfully warm and cozy. We talked about her trip to India last fall, her work, her path to ordination. We talked about kids and hometowns, and the week we had planned with Smart Wonderful Beautiful Daughter.
In the women's bathroom (or the loo, as my English Friend would say), we stood together in front of a lovely mirror and tried with our cameras to get a wonderfully clever blogger photo of our reflections. Somehow, we failed to get a good shot. Maybe it's because we kept trying to change the angle so that we wouldn't get the condom/tampon dispenser in the photo. Maybe it's because we were laughing too hard. Or maybe it's that it's really hard to get a photo in a small bathroom and not show your faces at all. But at least we tried.
We ended our afternoon with tea and dessert at Cafe That Serves Spotted Dick Pudding. I first embarrassed my husband and English Blogging Friend by taking a photo of the chalkboard that held the list of desserts and then by changing tables twice. I wanted to sit at one of two little round tables in the sunlight, tucked up against the big window. No matter that two young lovers were already at the other little table, sharing a romantic meal. I mean, an empty table is an empty table, right? All is fair when it comes to restaurants and empty chairs.
My husband, sensitive to the needs of a young couple on a date, tried quietly to indicate that the shy lovers might not appreciate the presence of two giddy, talkative women, old enough to be their mothers, loudly chatting at their elbows. But his hints were too subtle and the sunshine was hard to resist, and we settled into the chairs happily. When the couple, both dressed like college students, finished their meal and were pulling money from their pockets to pay their bill, my husband reached over (it wasn't hard, they were like two inches away), grabbed the bill, and said, "We've intruded on your space, so let me at least pay your bill."
The young man, with his flushed cheeks and big eyes, looked incredulous. He sort of stammered, "Are you sure?" and then seemed to be searching for words. Finally, he looked at me and then back at my husband and said, "Are you from America then?"
That question, delivered with his lovely accent, seemed so in keeping with the moment that it quite made my day.
Posted by jo(e)